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I have been using S90 to take pictures for sometime now. After seeking advice, in this forum, on DSLR's for good photography I have been convinced with strong arguments to stick to the compact for now. That brings to my next set of question,

How do I prevent blown out skies when shooting landscapes with the compact ? Now do I take low light photography with out a tripod ? Preventing blown out highlights in other times.

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Your first question should be How do you prevent blown out skies without underexposing other parts of the image? because you can always expose for the sky.

It turns out the answer is the same for a compact or a DSLR because all cameras have a limited dynamic range. Yes, modern DSLRs have more dynamic range than your S90 but that only moves the point at which these techniques start applying:

  1. Shoot when the contrast is low. The golden hour is popular for landscape photography mainly because the contrast is at it lowest. As a bonus, things take a golden tone before sunset and after sunrise which generally adds appeal.
  2. Frame and point your camera to that DR in your frame is low. In other words, work with the light to select your framing, do not work against the sun. It took me years to make this into a habit but very rewarding.

When all else fail, you can try Exposure-Fusion or HDR. If you do it subtly it wont look nauseating like most such images seen on the web.

About your second question, without a tripod you have to increase the ISO. Cameras with small sensors are weak in this area as they produce much more noise than DSLRs at higher ISO sensitivities. If it becomes truly important to you, you'll either start using a tripod (try a Gorillapod if you want something very small and light) or get a camera with a bigger sensor.

  • Just a point of clarification (that I know @Itai actually knows but is not worded quite right here). "This is a weakness of camera's with small sensors" - increasing ISO for low light happens regardless of sensor size. Having to increase, isn't the weakness. The corresponding poor noise with increased ISO is the weakness of small sensors. – rfusca Jul 10 '11 at 18:56
  • Thanks for your replies. A question of clarification, what do you mean when you write, " Work with the light " ? – Samrat Roy Jul 10 '11 at 21:46
  • It means, instead of trying to capture something which is of too high contrast, you look carefully at how light falls on your subject to find what does fit within the dynamic-range of your camera. – Itai Jul 10 '11 at 23:42
  • @Itai If it is not much of a problem could you please comment with regards to the above point with respect to this photograph ( flickr.com/photos/ratking82/5670143745 ) ? It would help me learn a lot :) – Samrat Roy Jul 11 '11 at 7:12
  • Given the white wall and one subject where dark clothes in the shade, it is extremely unlikely that any DSLR or medium format camera can capture that DR. You can improve your odds by changing your angle so that the white wall is not part of the frame but instead more of the yellow wall which would then appear brighter but so would the person in black. Had this been a posed shot (which I am guessing it is not) you would use fill-flash or at least a reflector to diminish the contrast. – Itai Jul 11 '11 at 17:53

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